No matter how socially savvy we are, it’s easy to stumble into “awkward first date” territory. Despite our best intentions, we may unwittingly ask an intrusive question or bring up an uncomfortable subject. Before we know it, we’ve made a first date faux pas and put a damper on things—and maybe even hindered our chances of finding love!

But we can definitely avoid them! Read on to learn four first date faux pas with solutions for making sure you don’t make these mistakes.

  1. Too Many Questions: Wait, aren’t questions necessary to start the conversation? Don’t they communicate interest?” Yes, and no. Questions certainly get the discussion going and yes, they can communicate interest. But, too often we make the mistake of firing off questions without fully listening to and digesting the responses we hear. We bounce from topic to topic and the conversation ends up feeling shallow. Your date may begin to wonder, “Why am I being interrogated? Is this a date or an inquisition?”

    Solution: To avoid this faux pas, practice a reflective conversational style. Once you’ve posed a question and received a response, stick with the topic. If you don’t know exactly what to say next, try commenting on what you observed while your date was speaking, e.g. “Your face lights up when you talk about skiing. You seem really passionate about it. Tell me more.” In this way, you’ll keep the discussion focused on one subject and centered on your date, which definitely communicates a genuine interest.
  2. Monologues: Monopolizing the conversation is another faux pas and a guaranteed way to kill the enthusiasm and excitement of a first date. But it’s understandable how it happens. When trying to put our best foot forward, we may feel an urgency to get across as much as we can about ourselves—we want our date to get the full picture of who we are and what we’re about. Before we know it, we’ve launched into a monologue. We only realize our blunder when we notice our date’s eyes glazing over.

    Solution: Relax. Take a breath and remember, verbal communication is only one method of getting to know each other. Eye contact, listening skills, and good manners also demonstrate your character and provide your date with valuable information about you. In fact, in many instances, your nonverbals prove even more important than what you say. Remember, when it comes to talking about yourself, the adage, “Leave them wanting more” definitely applies.
  3. Taking Out Your Phone for ANY Reason: Just don’t. Ever. It’s horribly rude to check your phone in the middle of a conversation—first date or otherwise.

    Solution: If you absolutely must read a text or email, excuse yourself and go to the restroom. Check your phone there and don’t tell your date you did. The fact that you just had to touch base with others while trying to get to know your date probably won’t go over well. Nor should it.
  4. Bringing Up Your Ex: When it comes to bringing up the past on a first date, remember, less is more. Frankly, there’s nothing to be gained and everything to lose by talking about your ex—without realizing it, you’ll be presenting yourself as someone encumbered with emotional baggage from prior relationships. Your date will have every reason to wonder if you’re actually ready to find love or if you’re still working through issues from your past.

    Solution: This one’s fairly easy—just don’t talk about your ex. If there happens to be a story from your past you really want to share, just use a singular pronoun. For example, if you and your date are swapping stories about Italian vacations—but you visited Rome with your ex—tell the story as you normally would but just replace the “we” with “I.” If your date happens to be a bit nosy, asking for details about your past relationships, refuse to take the bait. A simple, “Things just didn’t work out. I’ll be happy to talk more about these relationships at a later time” should suffice.

It’s completely normal to experience first date jitters but don’t let your nerves get the better of you. Take note of the suggestions above to avoid making first date faux pas! As the adage goes, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.”

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